It’s an age-old meditation technique, and such an important one. Breathe. Focus. Put everything else to the side.
In the 2013 NBA playoffs, some camera people caught LeBron James sitting court side with closed eyes , focusing on his breathing. Concentrating on breathing in this way is one of the very fundamental areas of practicing mindfulness.
You can enter a state of rest by controlling your breathing. Think of the space between an inhalation and an exhalation as your inner centre, where your Watcher watches everything. This form of Awareness of Breath, or AOB, brings you back to the present moment.
Our respiration works in tandem with two other parts of our sovereign nervous system, both of which modulate our heart rate as well as other body functions.
The foremost is the sympathetic system, which can be activated by panic, worry and stress. Our body floods with stress hormones, increases our blood pressure and makes our respiration more shallow.
The 2nd is the parasympathetic system. It releases the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which lowers our heart rate and makes us more relaxed. So when you focus on your own breathing, your parasympathetic system kicks into action.
Aware respiration can also get you into seconds of stream. Shut your eyes, the most easy way to practice AOB will be to sit down and concentrate on the air moving in and out of your lungs.
You do an internal body scan, where you visualize respiration through various parts of your system and can also lie down.
You do by stopping your focus, don’t get into a state of stream; by concentrating on as few stimuli as possible you get. Our brains typically focus on a number of things simultaneously. Reducing that number is what will get you into the Zone.
Why was LeBron James was focusing on his breathing? It allowed him to be in the Zone when he stepped back onto the court.